Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Lower Education Forcast!

It's a sad road we are getting on and it needs to get changed!
It is said your education is only worth the paper it's printed on.
Well it's true out in the world. Going to a redneck college and getting
a masters degree is not the same as going to Berkeley.
The point is resources for learning. You get what you pay for!

My dad put me in a High school that had better resources for
learning. As most parents want their kid to go to a better college
vs a JR college because people that came from a good college
makes more money than not.

But now with Trump and noted that Republicans don't like
education noted by the tax cuts, tax cuts, charter schools, private
schools, telling colleges to lower their cost, etc, it's a going down in a pit of hell!
"Parents waiting to pick up their children that afternoon said the school had not
informed them that the state had revoked its charter. They were not aware of
the risk that credits might not transfer to other public schools."

Well Charter schools go broke a lot and the same as getting rid of the
common core it makes education not common and that is a bad thing
for kids going into college being the all different standards for the schools.
This would force the point more of being worth the paper it's printed on for
colleges. In the term of leaning on not accepting kids from a shitty school going
in to college to save the labor force!

Private school vouchers don't work. Remember the 80's when the vouchers ran out?
When I was in high school in 1985 there was many of my friends that disappeared. 
Their voucher ran out so they didn't finish school. 

Lowering the cost of college is taking away resources. Like cutting the fab lab
to save money to lower the cost. Or Hiring nothing but adjunct professors that
have no time to deal with kids not ready for college "holding back the whole class!"

The force pulling on colleges is the demand for better educated labor force.
The education needed for coming jobs is looking to be higher!
But as things look the floor is getting lower as the top is looking to get higher!
There is a divide growing to less kids going to college.

~~~~~5 things to know about Trump's Education Secretary pick: Betsy DeVos
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on Wednesday called DeVos' pick "the most ideological, anti-public education nominee put forward since President Carter created a Cabinet-level Department of Education." Weingarten added, “In nominating DeVos, Trump makes it loud and clear that his education policy will focus on privatizing, defunding and destroying public education in America. DeVos has no meaningful experience in the classroom or in our schools. The sum total of her involvement has been spending her family’s wealth in an effort to dismantle public education in Michigan. Every American should be concerned that she would impose her reckless and extreme ideology on the nation."

~~~~~Lower Education
Toby (not his real name) flunked a graduate course I taught last year. He failed the in-class assignment (a mid-term essay exam) as well as the out-of-class assignments (a couple of case analyses and a take-home exam). Reviewing Toby’s work was excruciating; extracting coherence from his paragraphs was a futile exercise, even with repeated readings. Theoretical analysis in his writing was virtually nonexistent. Put simply, this was an academic train wreck.

As I interacted with Toby over the course of the term, I kept asking myself, “How did this pleasant young man ever manage to obtain an undergraduate degree?” He certainly had one, awarded by a regionally accredited institution (not mine). And how did he get into yet another institution (my institution, but not my program) to pursue a master’s degree?

Welcome to the world of Lower Education. Toby’s case may be extreme, but it underscores a fundamental reality that shapes a major segment of higher education in the United States: Colleges cannot survive without students, so colleges that have a difficult time competing for the “best” students compete for the “next best” ones. And colleges that have trouble securing the “next best” students focus on the “next-next best” ones, and on and on and on, until a point is reached where the word “best” is no longer relevant. When this occurs, students who are not prepared to be in college, and certainly not prepared to be in graduate school, end up in our classrooms.

This is not startling news. It’s a rare college or university that does not have an academic remediation/triage center of some kind on campus, where an enormous amount of time is spent teaching students skills they should have learned in high school. To be sure, many of these unprepared students drop out of college before graduation, but a significant percentage do make it to the finish line. Some of the latter will have indeed earned their degree through great effort and what they’ve learned from us. But others will have muddled through without displaying the skills we should require of all students. My 35 years of university experience tell me that in these cases faculty collusion is often a contributing factor.

What is the nature of this collusion? In far too many instances, little is required of students in terms of the quality and quantity of their academic work, little is produced, and the little produced is, to put it mildly, graded generously. Some might argue that the mind-numbing proportions of A’s we often see these days, along with the relative scarcity of low grades, is a reflection of more effective teaching strategies being employed by professors, coupled with a growing population of bright students committed to academic excellence. Unfortunately, this uplifting scenario strikes me as much less persuasive than one that implicates factors such as transactional/contract grading (“5 article reviews equal an A, 4 equals a B,” etc.), faculty who wish to avoid arguing with increasingly aggressive students about grades, faculty who believe that awarding high grades generates positive student evaluations, faculty who express their philosophical opposition to grading by giving high grades, and the growing percentage of courses taught by part-time and non-tenure-track faculty members who might see the assigning of a conspicuous number of low grades as a threat to their being re-hired.

One of the most pernicious consequences of this state of affairs is cynicism toward higher education among those most directly responsible for delivering higher education -- the faculty. Research suggests that one of the most powerful sources of motivation for outstanding employee performance is goal/value internalization. This occurs when espoused organizational goals and values are “owned” by organizational members, who then strive to achieve the goals and live up to the values in their work. Colleges and universities have traditionally been in a privileged position with respect to drawing upon this type of motivation, given their educational mission. The beliefs associated with this mission can include a sizable chunk of myth, but as societal myths go, the ones embraced by higher education (e.g., the ability of research, knowledge, and analytical skill to enhance the public good) tend to have high social value.

In the current zeitgeist, however, many faculty are dismayed to see the provision of educational credentials trumping the actual provision of education. (Fifty might not be the new forty, but the master’s degree is certainly the new bachelor’s.) This perception is enhanced by a proliferation of curriculum-delivery formats (weekend courses, accelerated and online programs, etc.) whose pedagogical soundness often receives much less attention than the ability of the formats to penetrate untapped educational markets. It is difficult for a strong commitment to academic integrity to thrive in such environments.

Faculty who are distressed over all of this should not wait for presidents, provosts and deans to rescue higher education from itself. Moreover, regional accrediting bodies, despite their growing emphasis on outcomes assessment, do not typically focus on courses, programs and admissions standards in a way that allows them to adequately address these issues. For the most part it is faculty who teach the classes, design and implement curricula, and, at least at the graduate level, establish admissions policies for programs. What should faculty do? I offer three modest suggestions:
  • At the departmental level, work to develop a culture where expectations for student performance are high. When faculty members believe that teaching challenging courses is “the way we do things here,” they are less likely to offer non-challenging ones.
  • Advocate throughout the institution for the centrality of academic quality to policy making, program development, and program implementation. The question “What are we doing to ensure that X embodies a commitment to academic excellence?” should never be left implicit.
  • Create opportunities for faculty and administrators to come together in small groups to explore the issues raised by Lower Education. These two constituencies need to find a way to collaborate more effectively, and the mutual stereotyping that frequently characterizes their relationship represents a major obstacle. If we want our conversations relevant to Lower Education to change, let’s experiment with changing the structure within which some of those conversations take place.
Contemplating Lower Education reminds us that faculty members will always face pressures to compromise their academic principles. But explanations of unethical behavior should never be confused with justifications for such behavior. Ultimately, it was the faculty who gave Toby his credential of a bachelor’s degree. They shouldn’t have.

 ~~~~~How rural America is missing out on the modern American Dream
Median U.S. wages have been flat for decades, and blue collar workers are increasingly frustrated with the dwindling job opportunities -- a fact that was highlighted with the election of Donald Trump.

Opportunities exist -- there are more than half a million open computing jobs nationwide, according to But students growing up in the countryside aren't prepared for them. Rural students are far less likely than their peers in cities and suburbs to gain exposure to rigorous computer science training. These skills have emerged as a fast track to high-paying jobs.

There just aren't enough qualified teachers in rural areas to train students to take advantage of the vacancies, according to experts. Teachers in these areas have the disadvantage of wearing more hats and teaching a wider range of courses than their counterparts in denser areas. This makes it hard to focus on a subject and stay abreast of the latest developments.

Funding is also a challenge. If budget cuts happen, computer science, which generally isn't part of a core curriculum, may land on the chopping block.

Kathy Surd, president of the Michigan Mathematics and Science Centers Networks, said computer science hasn't always survived cost reductions in her state. But in the last two years, Surd said there's been a push to expand computer science education, which she said levels the playing field for students who want access to good jobs.

Nationwide, educators are realizing the promise of computer science. The College Board's Computer Science A course is the fastest growing AP class. The number of students taking it has doubled in the past five years. Yet students on the coasts -- in the Boston to Washington, D.C. corridor, plus all of California -- are most likely to take it, according to data from Barbara Ericson of Georgia Tech.

A 2016 study from Gallup and Google (GOOG) found that computer science is less of a priority in rural schools than in urban and suburban areas.

It doesn't help that it's difficult for teachers to find good training in rural areas. Gina Green, a newly minted computer science teacher in rural Bolivar, Missouri, is fortunate to teach near a university that offers computer science education.

After hearing that there would be a million unfilled computer science jobs in the U.S. by 2020, Green went back to school. She's now qualified to teach students the programming languages Java and Python.

She said the hands-on help of a human instructor was critical. While a teacher might be able to read a handful of books on the Civil War and sufficiently teach an American History class, Green said computer science doesn't work that way.

In recent years, a spree of tech "bootcamps" have sprung up, which give adults a crash course in programming. While a promising development, they're overwhelming located in large cities.

Green is now in her second year of teaching a computer science course to high school students. She said the course, which is three years old, was the first one offered in rural Missouri.

"There's a huge gap," Green said, between the computer science avenues available in the biggest cities compared to those in rural areas.

"It's imperative that in rural America that we say, this is an option for you," Green said. "All these jobs are disappearing. All across the nation, these traditional jobs are disappearing. I think it's an opportunity for these kids to achieve the American Dream."

Recently Green was chatting with a student with an unusually high IQ. Green asked what he wanted to do with his life. He responded that he might be a diesel mechanic, work in a factory or work for the highway department.

"He said those things because that's what he's been exposed to in his family," Green said. "A student like that might love computer science."

The student hasn't enrolled in Green's computer science course yet. But she's hopeful he will.
"I'll be encouraging him," she said.